05.26.20

Gemini version available ♊︎

Careers in Free Software Aren’t Careers in the Traditional Sense

Posted in Free/Libre Software, GNU/Linux, Microsoft at 9:35 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Think outside the box in a world that barely makes sense anymore (economy is beyond dysfunctional)

Building of glass and metal cages

Summary: With historic unemployment rates and people ‘stranded’ inside their homes there’s still demand and need for technology; these times of adaptation present an opportunity for Software Freedom

NOWADAYS, whenever you pick up the phone and call some company the line is likely to be diverted to somebody’s home, even if it’s some remote callcenter’s worker’s apartment in a distant continent. This is 2020. Nothing makes much sense, not going by traditional common sense and logic.

To the whole “software as a product” crowd (which used to sell software inside a physical box) Free software did not “make sense” — even if it was the de facto standard and norm decades earlier (before being demonised as "theft").

“The whole “clown computing”/subscription model may seem attractive when it can be imposed on everyone inside some office; but when workers are working remotely it’s difficult to enforce the use of particular configurations, software etc.”Now that many people work from home, some permanently (there’s a bunch of news reports about companies that do not plan to come back to a central workplace), it’s time to rethink the old modes of software development, distribution and support. Those things aren’t just changing temporarily. The whole “clown computing”/subscription model may seem attractive when it can be imposed on everyone inside some office; but when workers are working remotely it’s difficult to enforce the use of particular configurations, software etc. It’s definitely very difficult to police that (e.g. staff making local copies of highly sensitive data). The “BYOD” mindset is becoming universal; unless they come up with Chinese-like regimen and visit workers’ homes at random times for an invasive audit.

This seemingly (on a shallow level) “anarchic” nature of work, which may actually prove to be less authoritarian because there’s no boss over one’s shoulder, presents a huge opportunity to Free software. The FSF has been busy writing about doing online ‘events’ (webstreams) using Free software, having just cross-posted in a site called OpenSource.com (apparently it’s considered OK now), but what about the future of work?

“People who became accustomed to working (if not living) in ‘glass and metal cages’ or ‘open offices’ that resemble human farms may never have to return to that mode of employment.”At home we use only Free software. There are minor exceptions like Wi-Fi firmware (hardware’s fault), but we’re able to do all our work without proprietary software. The European Patent Office (EPO) now imposes Microsoft’s proprietary software on most staff, but that’s just typical tyranny or corruption from António Campinos — like Benoît Battistelli. It would not shock us if they receive bribes (kickbacks) for doing so… Microsoft still does this nonchalantly.

People who became accustomed to working (if not living) in ‘glass and metal cages’ or ‘open offices’ that resemble human farms may never have to return to that mode of employment. If they regain their prior employment status at all

Building of glass and metal cages 2

Freelancing, especially in the domain of technology, does not require the same level of physical access as plumbers, barbers and so on. It seems abundantly apparent by now that the estate business that deals with “commercial spaces” will have a really hard time ahead. Some people convert rooms inside their homes into offices, so demand for office furnishing might still exist. But commuting and renting of “office space” already suffer and will certainly suffer for years to come.

“I happened to learn from a reliable source that equipment used by Microsoft employees at home is merely loaned. The employees are used (or exploited) like ‘serfs’ that the employer can contact 24/7 and keep working until midnight (if there’s some “deadline” or another excuse).”Free software enthusiasts already are in a position of advantage because few true Free software projects are developed in a physically centralise fashion. They don’t “drive to the office” and their expenses are generally low. To them, with few exceptions, little will change. The disruption, the agony etc. will affect companies like Facebook and Microsoft. No longer can they say things like, “choose us because we’re professional and have physical offices…”

The pandemic strikes hard and changes profoundly the status quo of business, not the underlying activities which have long been carried out by communities online. Some make the argument that powerful companies will only become more powerful during the crisis, but those people typically allude to Amazon as courier (taking advantage of physical stores being shut) and surveillance monsters like Facebook taking advantage of bored people who cannot physically meet other people.

Whether one looks forward to “going back” (leaving home) to “work” (some remote office, away from home) depends on factors like number of kids — if any — as well as accommodation type and job type. I happened to learn from a reliable source that equipment used by Microsoft employees at home is merely loaned. The employees are used (or exploited) like ‘serfs’ that the employer can contact 24/7 and keep working until midnight (if there’s some “deadline” or another excuse). Working for such companies is extremely unattractive a proposition at these times… EPO workers have expressed similar displeasure.

“In terms of operating systems, Windows is at 33.1%, surpassed by Android, which together with GNU/Linux accounts for well over 40% of the market.”Apple is suffering. Microsoft merely pretends not to suffer (they're good at pretending) and GNU/Linux is said to have almost doubled its share since the lock-downs began (so said a company close to Microsoft).

According to StarCounter (which uses GitHub but isn’t generally known to be in Microsoft’s pocket), Chrome now enjoys 62.48% market share followed by Safari (19.94%), Firefox (4.21%), Samsung Internet (3.4%), Edge Legacy (2.23%), UC Browser (1.97%). Yes, notice where Microsoft fits in… now that many people use mobile devices. In terms of operating systems, Windows is at 33.1%, surpassed by Android, which together with GNU/Linux accounts for well over 40% of the market. This is no laughing matter as the Windows share keeps decreasing over time.

Net Applications keeps telling us Microsoft has over 90% in “market share” as if phones and tablets don’t exist… not even Chromebooks!

Share in other sites/networks: These icons link to social bookmarking sites where readers can share and discover new web pages.
  • Reddit
  • email

Decor ᶃ Gemini Space

Below is a Web proxy. We recommend getting a Gemini client/browser.

Black/white/grey bullet button This post is also available in Gemini over at this address (requires a Gemini client/browser to open).

Decor ✐ Cross-references

Black/white/grey bullet button Pages that cross-reference this one, if any exist, are listed below or will be listed below over time.

Decor ▢ Respond and Discuss

Black/white/grey bullet button If you liked this post, consider subscribing to the RSS feed or join us now at the IRC channels.

DecorWhat Else is New


  1. Links 19/05/2022: PostgreSQL 15 Beta 1 and Plasma 5.25 Beta

    Links for the day



  2. A Libera.Chat Anniversary and Happy Birthday (Maybe the Last) to 'Leenode'

    What became known as the so-called ‘Leenode’ is a cautionary tale, but maybe it is also a blessing in disguise because IRC as a whole seem to have become a lot more decentralised (as everything should be)



  3. Links 19/05/2022: The Gradual Fall of Netflix/DRM

    Links for the day



  4. IRC Proceedings: Wednesday, May 18, 2022

    IRC logs for Wednesday, May 18, 2022



  5. Links 18/05/2022: Qt Company Loses Chief; OpenSUSE Leap Micro 5.2 and RHEL 9 Final

    Links for the day



  6. Jim Zemlin's Wife is Funded by Puppies (Microsoft)

    Jim Zemlin — like his wife — is bagging millions from Microsoft, but that’s clearly a conflict of interest for the Linux Foundation



  7. Links 18/05/2022: More Defections From WordPress to Gemini

    Links for the day



  8. Links 18/05/2022: PikaScript and cURL's Annual User Survey

    Links for the day



  9. IRC Proceedings: Tuesday, May 17, 2022

    IRC logs for Tuesday, May 17, 2022



  10. Phoronix: Microsoft and Phoronix Sponsor (and Close Microsoft Partner) AMD All Over the Place

    When you’re taking massive 'gifts' from AMD (and also some from Microsoft) maybe it’s not surprising that editorial decisions change somewhat…



  11. EPO Has No F-ing Oversight

    Earlier today SUEPO mentioned this new article demonstrating that EPO President António Campinos can very obviously and blatantly violate the Code of Conduct of the Office without facing any consequences; there are translations too, so the report is now available in four languages



  12. [Meme] Linux-Rejecting Foundation

    The Linux Foundation never really leads by example; by default, it uses proprietary software



  13. Linux Foundation Almost Never uses Open Source

    The Linux Foundation uses proprietary software (look where they hire and take money from) and be sure they're probably not even aware of it



  14. Links 17/05/2022: Many More Games on GNU/Linux, YaST Development Report

    Links for the day



  15. Links 17/05/2022: Rocky Linux 8.6 and Budgie Desktop in Fedora

    Links for the day



  16. Patent Examiners Rising Up Against EPO Abuse

    Unhappy with the law-breaking autocracy (the EPO‘s management breaks the law as a matter of routine), fast-deteriorating working conditions and rapidly-decreasing quality of work (or lack of compliance with the law), workers have escalated further, topping off strikes and industrial actions with a large-scale petition



  17. [Meme] What Managers (Really) Mean by Acting Professionally

    The myth of 'professionalism' needs to die along with the façade of conformity as prerequisite for employment (Linus Torvalds can work just fine in a bathrobe in his own home)



  18. Internal Poll: 93% of European Patent Office (EPO) Workers Are Unhappy With the EPO

    On top of strike/s and industrial action/s there are now also petitions; at the EPO, almost all staff is "disgruntled" because of utterly corrupt and defunct leadership



  19. Links 17/05/2022: OpenSUSE Leap 15.4 Release Candidate

    Links for the day



  20. IRC Proceedings: Monday, May 16, 2022

    IRC logs for Monday, May 16, 2022



  21. Links 16/05/2022: FreeBSD 13.1 and Inkscape 1.2 Released

    Links for the day



  22. Archiving Latest Posts in Geminispace (Like a Dated Web Directory But for Gemini)

    Earlier today we saw several more people crossing over from the World Wide Web to Gemini; we're trying to make a decent aggregator and archive for the rapidly-expanding Geminispace, which will soon have 2,500 capsules that are known to Lupa alone



  23. Microsoft Vidal Does Not Want to Listen (USPTO is Just for Megacorporations)

    Microsoft Vidal knows her real bosses. They’re international corporations (multinationals like Microsoft), not American people.



  24. Links 16/05/2022: China Advances on GNU/Linux and Maui 2.1.2 is Out

    Links for the day



  25. Jim Zemlin: Chief Revenue Officer in 'Linux' Seat-Selling Foundation

    Board seats in the Linux Foundation are basically a product on sale, based internal documents



  26. Reminder: Linux Foundation's Last IRS Filing is Very Old (Same Year the CFO Left)

    People really need to ask the Linux Foundation, directly, why its filings are years behind; this seems like a sensitive subject



  27. Linux Foundation Does Not Speak for GNU/Linux Users

    There's a serious problem in the "Linux" world as the so-called 'Linux' Foundation claims to speak for us (the GNU/Linux community) while in fact speaking against us (on the payroll of those looking to extinguish us)



  28. IBM's Lennart Poettering on Breaking Software for Pseudo Novelty

    Recently-uploaded ELCE 2011 clip shows a panel with Linus Torvalds, Alan Cox, Thomas Gleixner, Paul McKenney, and Lennart Poettering (relevant to novelty or perceived novelty that mostly degrades the experience of longtime users, e.g. Wayland and systemd)



  29. IRC Proceedings: Sunday, May 15, 2022

    IRC logs for Sunday, May 15, 2022



  30. Links 15/05/2022: Linux 5.18 RC7 and Calls for More Mass Surveillance

    Links for the day


RSS 64x64RSS Feed: subscribe to the RSS feed for regular updates

Home iconSite Wiki: You can improve this site by helping the extension of the site's content

Home iconSite Home: Background about the site and some key features in the front page

Chat iconIRC Channel: Come and chat with us in real time

Recent Posts